Behind the scenes…

So here’s a few stills from behind the scenes on my recent low light shootout.

It turned out on the day I wasn’t able to access the Cooke S5’s that I was hoping to get hold of and had to make do with S4’s.  They are terrific lenses as well of course, but I was hoping to push things to the limit with the extra stop of T1.4 rather than the slower stop of T2 with the Cookes.  In the end, I don’t think it would have made much difference.

So managing to (barely) get everything onto a single magliner trolly, We set up for our first day scene by the banks of the Yarra river.  Intended to look it’s best in the late afternoon sun, if just looked very flat as there was full cloud cover.  Not a successful start to the shoot.

We had Jane and Mike at first romantically wrestling before a minor tiff before Jane walks off in a huff.

I decided to always try to shoot in the same order.  The director and I would work out a simple action with Actors Jane and Mike and we’d try to device simple coverage that would enable us to double up any shots with the same lens.

So I decided to start with the 1D, then shoot the Sony F3 then Arri Alexa, Red, Super 16 and 35mm.  I figured I could get into a groove by the time I got to the film stocks and have enough practice time to minimise the need to do additional takes, as I only had a limited amount of Kodak Vision 3 500T for both film formats.

After the Alexa on the river banks the skies really opened.  Check out the rain clip shot on my phone in the previous post !  That put us down by about 30 mins.  Then of course the sun popped out for a few moments while we continued shooting, so there’s very little chance of those clips matching !

We then moved to Centre place.  This is one of Melbourne’s most famous funky laneways and I wanted to be here just at dusk while there still some cafes trading and leaving their lights on.  We had one of our helpers carry a cake with sparklers through the scene and juggler Daniel Dobos pretending to busk with some illuminated juggling balls.  The idea here was to create something a little magical, and carnivalesque…as far as our limited resources could take it anyway.  This will be interesting as it was a lot brighter than I hoped it would be and I’m going to be grading this down to make it look like it’s much later in the day.

Then over to the quieter Howey Place where out couple first meet and start their romance when they first see each other.

A quick bite to eat at our bar location in Bank Place, another of Melbourne’s secret laneways and then we shot our scene with Mike post argument with Jane drowning his sorrows in scotch before deciding to try and patch things up.  With lots of great practicals in shot, we chose this location because we felt we could shoot there without having to really do any lighting work.

Our final scene involved Jane waiting and reminiscing about her short romance with Mike and wondering if he was indeed going to turn up, given their prior date had ended with an argument.  Of course Mike shows and there’s hugs all round.

Originally conceived to be shot in and around Parliament, we hadn’t bothered to get permission as the security on the rece had told us it wasn’t necessary.  Unfortunately those guys weren’t working the night we decided to shoot and there was no way they were letting us onto the steps of Parliament.  So we had to quickly re-stage the crucial scene with Jane and in the end we just moved up on the footpath with Parliament in the background and made use of a single LED litepanel light.  We also ended up having a small problem with the 35mm material when we broke a perf mounting the magazine.  We were already way behind with the issues of trying to move our location so I called it a night without getting our final shot on 35mm.  Shame.

Editor Ben Joss is now hard at work and should have a cut completed for each version very soon.

It was amazing on the night to be directly comparing each camera as each set up went through.  I wish I wasn’t so pressed for time as I didn’t really get a lot of hands on time with the F3.

1D on the move

Sony F3 ready to shoot


F3 shooting a grey card



Arri Alexa at Centre Place

Shooting RED at Centre Place



Aaton 35 @ Centre PLace







Shooting with the 1D on the bar interior setup.






The gang at Bank Place


F3 with Cooke and Loader Aloysius Teo

About johnbrawley

Director Of Photography striving to create compelling images
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2 Responses to Behind the scenes…

  1. spoohj says:

    the problem is that you went into the test not understanding how to expose film… its patently obvious how poor a representation your results are of the capability of s16 and s35.

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